Opioid overdose deaths are continuing at a high rate in the Chicago area, with Black residents making up a disproportionate number of deaths, ProPublica reports.
Although Black residents make up less than a quarter of Cook County’s population, they account for half of the county’s confirmed opioid-related deaths. So far this year, more than 1,180 Cook County residents have died or are suspected of having died from opioid-related overdoses—about twice the number of people who died due to opioids during the same period in 2019.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the opioid crisis, experts told ProPublica. People are turning to opioids to deal with financial stress, and may not have someone nearby to administer the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. Fewer people are coming to the emergency room for overdoses, because they fear contracting the virus, said Dr. Steven Aks, an emergency room physician at John H Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.
How to Use Naloxone to Stop Opioid Overdose and Save Lives
In the event of an opioid overdose (including heroin and prescribed pain medications), naloxone can reverse an overdose and save a life.